Meeting men in a new place

Hi Meredith and company!

I will start off by noting that I am a native of New England who relocated to the Deep South as part of a strategic career move. I continue to read as a way of maintaining my connections to the area and have recently found myself drawn to Love Letters. In light of recent events, I decided to step up to the plate and seek your advice.

Here's a little information about me: I am a single guy in my mid-twenties, educated, with a steady job that I enjoy, an active social life, and a great group of friends. I consider myself to be attractive, easy going, fun to be around, and a genuinely nice person. The least exciting thing about me is that I am gay. My longest, and only, relationship lasted a whopping 4 months when I was in college. After that experience, I took a 6-year hiatus from dating to finish my degree and build a career. This was absolutely the best decision for me and I do not regret it in any way. I am very independent and have never felt that something was missing in my life simply because I wasn't in a relationship. However, now that I am older I realize that it would be nice to spend time with someone I care about.

After 6 years of absolutely no dates, I am having a really hard time meeting guys. I do not know where to begin or how to even put myself out there. Gay bars just aren't my cup of tea and I don't know of any respectable dating websites. The few guys I have interacted with just seem to be looking for a one night stand and not an actual relationship. Can you help me out and get me pointed in the right direction?

– Missteps in the South

I can't tell you exactly where to go, MITS, but I can tell you that it's always nice to meet friends of friends of friends. Can you tell some of your new friends -- even if they're at work -- that you're looking for a nice boyfriend? Can you ask neighbors and pals who they know?

I'd also recommend looking up every organization in town to see whether they have any nice clubs and activities. I'm thinking of the Huntington Theatre's "Out and About" program in Boston. There have to be some equivalent groups down where you are.

I have to admit that after reading this letter, I want to give you a talking to about your proclivity to compartmentalize. I understand that you've needed to focus on work, but you can no longer afford to ignore one part of your life while you prioritize another. It's too much pressure. It's why you feel that after a six-year hiatus from the dating world, you suddenly have to dive in deep and focus on finding a boyfriend like it's your new job.

I'm guilty of this kind of compartmentalizing, too. It's easy to say, "I'm going to put 100 percent of my effort into priority 'A,' and ignore priority 'B.'" Truth is, it's better to do A and B at the same time. So try not to put too much pressure on yourself. You're working on your job, building a life, and meeting new people at the same time. It's OK if you only take small steps while you multitask. That's how it works.

Readers? What should he do? And am I right about the compartmentalizing? Anybody else focus on one part of their lives while ignoring the other? Can you give him words of wisdom? Help.

– Meredith